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My Michael Moment was the collective screening rounds to get into the program. I was blown away by the time, energy and cost to screen people and find just a few clients.

I applied with a class colleague and we went through the same process. When I received the 5 page feedback letter my admiration for Michael only grew. He provided very detailed advice on what I needed to do.

Sadly, my class mate was unsuccessful but this impressed me more. To think that Michael went through all that trouble and provided a feedback letter made me realize Michael was serious about his intent.

I am still in the program and loving every minute of it. I learn new things every day and feel I am growing professionally and ready to take on MBB come March 2013.

We have published the most useful client feedback. Our commitment to confidentiality prevents us from disclosing the identity of our clients and other confidential information, and we may alter details to prevent such disclosure. Some client feedback may be lightly edited for grammar, spelling or prose, though we never alter or remove any information. Clients in our consultants coaching program are forbidden from sharing sensitive client data with us.

I asked Michael about the MBA case competition and he said I should forget about it. I did not believe him and he provided a long explanation which went something like this…

“To win a case competition requires skills very different from that required to obtain an MBB offer. Case competitions require research, power point, formatting and team work skills which will not be required in a case interview. It will also take up a lot of my time, effect your grades and lead to no meaningful reward.”

Michael also pointed out that people who win case competitions generally do not get MBB offers. That was a statistic I found hard to believe at the time, especially since so many other major sites were telling me to do it!

I am sad to say I did not believe Michael, entered 4 major case competitions, hurt my grades and ended up with no offers. That was the last time I ignored Michael’s advice. For round 2 at MBB, at least I hope to get a round 2, I follow his advice like scripture!

Thanks for believing in me Michael.

We have published the most useful client feedback. Our commitment to confidentiality prevents us from disclosing the identity of our clients and other confidential information, and we may alter details to prevent such disclosure. Some client feedback may be lightly edited for grammar, spelling or prose, though we never alter or remove any information. Clients in our consultants coaching program are forbidden from sharing sensitive client data with us.

A Michael Moment? Hmm…there are so many. And some saved me money and esteem.

For my second round interview with AT Kearney in South East Asia, the company asked if I would be in Malaysia soon and wanted to know if I would be willing to fly in for my own cost. I was excited and thrilled, and ready to go online to spend a few hundred dollars to book the flight and hotel. It seemed normal to me.

When I told Michael about this over Skype, he became upset about it. I had thought he was upset me with! Thankfully he soon clarified the direction of his anger!

He repeated this a few times until I understood the point. I should never pay for my own trip because it implies two things. I am desperate for the position and because it is a double-standard from AT Kearney. If they knew I was desperate for the job, I would lose any chances of getting it. He also felt they would not ask a student from a better school to pay their way. He asked me if I wanted to work for an office with such poor standards?

I was actually quite desperate and it was hard to see Michael’s point that the time. Like many of his lessons, they are not obvious and I needed to think about it. I very reluctantly agreed and asked AT Kearney to pay for my trip since it was a cost I was incurring for them. They refused.

Michael seemed fine with it and we just continued through. In my interactions with MBB I followed Michael’s advice closely. I made every firm think I was heavily in demand and they needed to reach out to me. That worked very well, especially with Bain.

“Image counts. Grades are important but only when packaged with the right image and desperation is never good.”

That was my Michael Moment. Making a decision from the basis of desperation is a bad idea. Thanks for teaching me that Michael.

We have published the most useful client feedback. Our commitment to confidentiality prevents us from disclosing the identity of our clients and other confidential information, and we may alter details to prevent such disclosure. Some client feedback may be lightly edited for grammar, spelling or prose, though we never alter or remove any information. Clients in our consultants coaching program are forbidden from sharing sensitive client data with us.

I think it is a swell idea of your team to collect the best moments with clients. I hope you will publish some of these stories.

You will probably not recall this moment but it was a turning point for me. I was alone at Wharton, no family in the U.S., I had no money to fly home, all my friends were away for Christmas and I was planning my applications. I sent you a message at 6:15pm EST on Christmas day and never expected a reply.

You sent me a message on Skype and offered to call me. That was a pretty amazing response to take your clients so seriously. We had a short call but you told me something which placed my situation in perspective and gave me the energy to push through.

You said that great people are never happy.

“They are extremes with no friends. They have sharp edges and they have no friends. They see things others cannot see and are ridiculed for it until they can make their ideas work. One of the great myths of the media is that successful people are happy. No successful person is happy. Successful people are flawed – deeply so.”
 

You told me the story about George Stalk’s presentation skills and Kenichi Ohmae’s first McKinsey engagement. You told me that all successful people lack confidence, which drives them to succeed, but they don’t show it. You ended of with the line I will always remember –

“Never compare your true self to the image others project. It is not a like-for-like comparison and you will always come off worse.”
 

On that day in my state of mind I was most receptive to your advice. That really helped with my confidence to know I was important enough for you to speak with on Christmas day.

We have published the most useful client feedback. Our commitment to confidentiality prevents us from disclosing the identity of our clients and other confidential information, and we may alter details to prevent such disclosure. Some client feedback may be lightly edited for grammar, spelling or prose, though we never alter or remove any information. Clients in our consultants coaching program are forbidden from sharing sensitive client data with us.

My Michael Moment occured after I had received offers from BCG and McKinsey and was trying to debate the best choice. BCG offered me 15% larger package overall and a higher signing bonus. I sent Michael a short note on Skype explaining my decision and intimating that the extra money would pay for a nice vacation with my wife. I received a note saying that money was not everything and I should choose the firm which I felt had a partner who could personally mentor me. Michael gave me 4 things to think about:

• I would only progress to partner if a partner took me under his wings and mentored me. I should think about which firm was not more likely to do that.

• 15% + higher immediate salary translates into very little over a 5 to 10 year career. I should think about the lifetime value of the decision and not the short term value.

• A firm that pays more will have a reason for doing that. No one is that generous. I needed to think carefully about the gap for which the money was compensating. Was it training, the type of engagements etc.?

• Don’t pick the firm that likes you, pick the firm that wants to develop you. In the long term, my personal development would be more important.

It pained me at the time, but I turned down the BCG offer and chose McKinsey. No one agreed with me and my wife had to settle for a Florida vacation over Aruba!

That is my Michael Moment, he took my career seriously even after getting me in – beyond our contracted relationship – and I still count on him for advice. Michael is willing to be the lone voice of dissent if he cares about you.

We have published the most useful client feedback. Our commitment to confidentiality prevents us from disclosing the identity of our clients and other confidential information, and we may alter details to prevent such disclosure. Some client feedback may be lightly edited for grammar, spelling or prose, though we never alter or remove any information. Clients in our consultants coaching program are forbidden from sharing sensitive client data with us.

A client from South-east Asia wrote 3 memorable moments from our coaching.

I think 3 traits describe Michael for me — utmost professional integrity, excellence and valued relationship. This story is about the 3rd trait:

My “Michael Moment” came when I had finished the case coaching program, having spent ~4 months, and 15 hours being mentored by Michael.

That day, I received the email decision from the consulting firm I was applying to. Sadly, I was unsuccessful in my application.

Of course the first thing I did was shared it with Michael, and after some comforting encouragement from him, he said one the most inspiring words I’ve ever heard:

That for him clients are friends.

I understood this when I later on chatted with him. He provided me with guidance and resources, beyond the scope of what I had assumed as the “formal business contract” of the program.

Michael, I am so fortunate to be your client and your friend.

We have published the most useful client feedback. Our commitment to confidentiality prevents us from disclosing the identity of our clients and other confidential information, and we may alter details to prevent such disclosure. Some client feedback may be lightly edited for grammar, spelling or prose, though we never alter or remove any information. Clients in our consultants coaching program are forbidden from sharing sensitive client data with us.

My Michael Moment came right at the beginning. As a South African MBA student the program was approximately R[Redacted]. That was a lot of money and equal to 25% of the yearly cost of my MBA program.

It was a lot of money! It is a lot of money! It will always be a lot of money.

I had applied late in the cycle and given the sum involved, I would need about 3 to 4 weeks to beg, borrow and squeeze it out of my parents – who thought I was certifiably insane to spend so much money on this program.

The moment occurred when I wrote to Michael and asked if we could start before the payment was made. I knew it would be a no but thought I should ask. Michael’s response is pasted below and it is the reason I am such a strong believer in his views – well, that and I did get into MBB!

Dear [redacted]

We understand the funding challenges. We would be able to start the program before payment is made. We select clients heavily on values and ethics, and if there was any doubt you would not pay us, then you would not be a good candidate for this program and you would not have been granted a place.

Entering our program is not a function of your ability to make the payment. It is a function of your potential and values.

Michael

That blew me away to think Michael was so serious about values that he places revenue on the line to prove it. I have come to to find that Michael is probably the most ethical person I have ever met in my entire life.

You can kid around with Michael about anything, just don’t kid around about values. You are asking for trouble.

We have published the most useful client feedback. Our commitment to confidentiality prevents us from disclosing the identity of our clients and other confidential information, and we may alter details to prevent such disclosure. Some client feedback may be lightly edited for grammar, spelling or prose, though we never alter or remove any information. Clients in our consultants coaching program are forbidden from sharing sensitive client data with us.

My story is not a Michael Moment but a Michael Revelation.

I was not successful with MBB while working with Michael. That said, I have no regrets taking the program and continue to refer friends and colleagues to Michael. I realized after the training ended that I was not ready for MBB.

I had started my pursuit because everyone else was doing it. When Michael asked me why I wanted to work at McKinsey, I, sadly, had no good answer. I had never even thought about it until I was asked this question. I felt like a lemming.

The training was excellent but the desire to be at MBB was missing and that was my weakness which the interviewers could easily see. They needed to have been blind to miss it.

After my MBA I took 12 months off travelling around Central and Pacific Asia. The journey centered me and helped me realize what I wanted to do. I returned to the US and joined the Obama campaign.

Everyday I used my consulting training to do things that matter. I am grateful for Michael giving me these skills. It is probably not the best story but it shows the power of using skills effectively and especially where you personally believe it will have the greatest impact. Michael told me that the skills FC could teach me could potentially change the world in the right hands. I believe that.

We have published the most useful client feedback. Our commitment to confidentiality prevents us from disclosing the identity of our clients and other confidential information, and we may alter details to prevent such disclosure. Some client feedback may be lightly edited for grammar, spelling or prose, though we never alter or remove any information. Clients in our consultants coaching program are forbidden from sharing sensitive client data with us.

Michael! Thank you so much for choosing me and leading me so far in the training program. It has changed me permanently in two good aspects.

First are changes from deep inside, in terms of career goals and inner confidence.

Second is about my outside presentation.

Let’s start with the changes from deep inside first. I still remember when you asked me, “Do you want to be a CEO of a company,” during the initial screening interview.

I thought it was absurd. How could I or how dare I even think about going that far? Never ever!

However, after the training, if you asked me today this same question, I would say, “Maybe…Yes. I think that is an intriguing idea.”

Raising my inner confidence occurred because training with Michael was one of the few times in a week that I felt good about myself.

No kidding! It is because I had been in a dark time in my career – due to the pressure to graduate from school and the uncertainty about my future career – and my confidence was decreasing. Michael helped me to realize my “sparkles” as well as “bad things” that I should improve. It is tremendously helpful to know myself better with an outsider’s expert view. Knowing what I was not good at is actually a good feeling and motivated me to improve.

The second key area I feel Michael has changed me is in my presentation. I was eager to improve my body language and start using hands while talking, though it was weird due to the conserved cultural background I had.

Michael was absolutely right that using hand movements helped me to gain more confidence and was more persuasive for others.

Also, I did consider my dress code when I had sessions with Michael. As he mentioned in his one interesting statistic, my “dressing significantly improved”, and I believe so. Not too much, but I was always thinking about it when I knew that day I would have a session with Michael, “this shirt is better for the session, because it gives me more business feeling”, or simply because “it looks better/brighter in the camera shooting”.

This is because I appreciated the significant efforts Michael and Firmsconsulting had put in me, and I do also want to offer something in return, especially the things that I can take control of, such as clothing.

Michael, I might become a CEO of a fashion or retail company in the future.

All in all, thank you Michael!

We have published the most useful client feedback. Our commitment to confidentiality prevents us from disclosing the identity of our clients and other confidential information, and we may alter details to prevent such disclosure. Some client feedback may be lightly edited for grammar, spelling or prose, though we never alter or remove any information. Clients in our consultants coaching program are forbidden from sharing sensitive client data with us.

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